China Mudslides Make This Summer Deadliest Summer in Over a Decade

A pair of Chinese scientists warned of the devastating mudslides that occurred in China early this August some thirteen years ago.  In 1997 researchers Ma Dongtao and Qi Long, published a paper warning that the destruction of the eco-system caused by heavy deforestation of the Zhouqu county slopes from 1952 until 1990 would make it easy for a heavy rainstorm to carry debris down the gully and destroy everything in its path.  The monsoon rains that struck the Chinese Province of Gansu starting on August 7, was just such a rainstorm.

The storm was responsible for loosing mud and rock, which ended up killing over a 1,000 people where the government lumber companies had cleared over 300,000 acres of forest over the past 60 years.  The mudslides were the latest in a series of floods and landslides that have brought the summer death toll to over 3,000 caused by the various natural disasters.  It has been the deadliest summer in China in over a decade.

Heavier than usual monsoon rains have been the culprit for the devastation that has rocked the region this summer.  Even the normally safe northern region of China, has been prone to widespread flooding this summer. 

China is home to what are believed to be the two most deadly natural disasters in history.  In 1887 and 1931, the country’s second largest river, the Yellow River, experienced widespread flooding, and between the two killed an estimated six million people.  Since then the government has been able to help control the damage, but as the recent flooding and mudslides show, the manmade structures erected to avoid the flooding have provided little deterrence in the face of Mother Nature.

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